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By Joy B. Burch

     Last fall, there was a three-part article in the Chesapeake Style about my beloved Engel, a German Shepherd with hemangiosarcoma and Janet Fast’s Buffrey, a German Wirehaired Pointer who had lymphosarcoma. While those articles were running (October-December), my Engel died in November. After several difficult months, I finally decided that I needed another “major car dog,” as I called Engel. Having had Dobermans for years, I decided that I wanted to get a Doberman from a Doberman rescue organization. On May 24, I became the proud guardian of Naja (not her original name), a lovely, natural-eared, black and tan Doberman female. She is about three years old, and appears to have been bred at least once. Before Naja could come home with me, I had numerous communications with the rescue organization people, an extensive application that included questions about training philosophy and my home was visited to verify that my property was fenced. The rescue people even asked my veterinarian for a recommendation. The goal being to find a good, permanent homes for these rescued dogs. The Doberman Rescue of the Triad, Greensboro, North Carolina, lovingly served by Carol Fama and her associates, take their mission very seriously. They obviously care about what is best for the dog. Not only was she treated for heartworms (which was why she got dumped at the pound), but also she was spayed and micro-chipped. 

     I am enjoying the challenge of developing Naja’s trust. In just a few weeks, she acts happier and is beginning to lose those behaviors, which I dubbed, “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Many of her reactions speak volumes about what her previous life was probably like. It must have been scary for her at times. Here is my open letter to the previous owners, whomever they may be, and any other dog owners that do not have their dogs’ best interest at heart.

     Dear Previous Owners of Naja, 

     Have you ever wondered what happened to the Doberman you left at the pound in Greensboro? Here is an update for you. She is in a loving home, life is consistent and directions are clear and fair. She was successfully treated for heartworms, which you could have prevented if you had bought heartworm preventative. You forgot? You could not afford it? Then do not get a dog! 

     She has been spayed, so she will not be having another litter. You did not know she was in season? You thought it would be good for the kids to experience a litter of puppies. Were they purebred? Did some or all of them die because you did not know about parvo? If you did not know anything about breeding, then you should not breed dogs. Puppies are lives, and the more careless the breeding, the more likely they will end up smashed on the side of the road or at the pound. 

     Speaking of kids, did you let them tease her? You do not have kids, so you did the teasing? Shame on you! When you were angry, did you call her, then scold or hit her when she cowered at your side? Naja clearly shows that she has not been sure that what happens next will be good. Fortunately, her sweet disposition and basic desire to be loved is still there. We are building on that. 

     Oh, one more thing, if you should ever get another dog, God forbid, do not play by shaking their muzzle. Fortunately, she has a gentle mouth, but it is unwise to encourage biting, aggressive behavior. You might be “biting off more than you can chew.” Pardon the pun. Kids can be bitten that way. Then the dog is blamed for what you taught and permitted.

     It was probably Naja’s luckiest day when you dumped her at the pound and they called the Doberman rescue. She is in a better home now. Unfortunately, it does not always turn out that way for dumped dogs. Do you care? For those of you that can offer a good home, get a dog that needs rescuing. The dog will love you for it. For the love of animals... 

© 2001 Joy B. Burch All rights reserved.


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